[thelist] What is wrong with this site?

Javed Alam jalam at cc.ysu.edu
Mon Aug 18 21:07:12 CDT 2003

What happened in the past when the browser war going on is an ancient 
history in tech times. Things have moved on, however its effects still 
persist in form of "this site can be best viewed by "fill in the name of 
your favorite browser". How about developers slowly start moving towards 
structured documents and promote xhtml/xml/css with well formed 
documents and start avoiding the browser specific extension if it is 
possible. This will set a trend and may icrease the life of the 
documnets they are creating. What happens when MS decides to drop IE and 
every application they are building becomes a browser as well as a MS 
SOAP client. This is not far fetched. Anybody who has tried the 
webservices tool kit for the MS office will know it. They have a neat 
demo of webservices for stock application built into the EXEL.

MS is a very smart company, they understand how to add value to their 
applications. Opensource still is trying to catch up with the windows 
desktop while MS is in the process of transforming it with the extensive 
use of XML.


Simon Willison wrote:

> James Aylard wrote:
>>     Why should the average user see a blank window simply because a
>> server-side script failed to write a closing table tag? Why should the
>> average user see a stream of unintelligible html code simply because the
>> server isn't set to generate the correct content-type header? Why 
>> should the
>> user be confronted with a confusing "404 Error" page, having no clue 
>> what it
>> means? Microsoft's answer is: they shouldn't. And IE is a product of 
>> that
>> assumption.
> See my reply to Bill Haenel, where I back-pedalled considerably. In 
> the heat of the moment I had completely failed to acknowledge IE's 
> position as a tool for the user first, a development tool second. I 
> was wrong. I still think that fixing dumb developer errors can be 
> taken too far, and when it is it becomes anti-competitive (deliberate 
> or not).
>>     So, we're back to developer laziness. There are numerous tools 
>> out there
>> in which to test a site and to verify the validity of its code. But 
>> since
>> many developers, according to your own argument, never bother to 
>> rigorously
>> test their sites, Microsoft has decided that the hapless end user 
>> should not
>> be the one to shoulder the burden of some of the more common careless 
>> coding
>> errors.
> Here's the catch-22: if browsers had never started auto-fixing things, 
> they wouldn't have to compensate for careless coding errors as lazy 
> developers would have spotted them (nothing makes you fix your page 
> faster than it not loading when you go to check it out in your 
> browser). As I've already pointed out though, the damage is already 
> done and there's no way of going back.
>>     Meaningless. It is the complexity of complying with web standards 
>> that
>> makes the production of a modern browser so incredibly daunting, not
>> "reverse-engineering" IE's so-called fixes.
> I completely disagree here. Implementing W3C standards is daunting, 
> but replicating IE's undocumented fixes verges on the impossible. You 
> would be right to blame this on developer laziness, but you would also 
> be right to blame it on browser vendors for allowing that laziness to 
> go unpunished. At least propretary "improvements" to existing 
> standards as fosited by Netscape and Microsoft during the browser wars 
> were logically specified and well documented - new browsers could 
> choose to implement them or ignore them at will, and would at least 
> have documentation to work from. There's no documentation for what IE 
> does when it encounters garbage markup, so if you want your new 
> browser to render that garbage the way the author intended you haven't 
> even a fighting chance.
> I'm going to back away from this discussion before it turns in to one 
> of those threads that goes on for days (talk about a can of worms!), 
> but I'm happy to concede that my original rant missed some important 
> points. I do think though that this issue highlights an interesting 
> problem that arises when the development tool and the end user tool 
> are one and the same.
> Cheers,
> Simon Willison


*Javed Alam, *Ph.D.


*Civil/Environmental/Chemical Engineering Department*

Youngstown State University

Youngstown, Ohio 44555

Phone 330-941-3029

Fax     330-941-3265

e-mail jalam at cc.ysu.edu <mailto:jalam at cc.ysu.edu>

web: http://www.eng.ysu.edu/~jalam/ <http://www.eng.ysu.edu/%7Ejalam/>


"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be 
their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. 
A popular government without popular information or the means of 
acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both."
  - James Madison /(Fourth President of the United States)/ 

"Facts are stupid things..."
  - Ronald Reagan /(40th President of the United States)/ 


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